Your loved ones in senior care may be older, but you can be wiser when it comes to communicating with them. Increased age may diminish an adult’s hearing or vision, but you can still have quality conversations. It’s important to be patient and use appropriate conversation skills with this age group.
Here are 5 tips for communicating with someone in senior care:
- Speak Louder than Normal, Without Yelling. Speak at a higher level than normal, but don’t yell or be condescending. Have patience and expect that you will probably have to repeat words or phrases. Keep your calm.
- Be Mindful of Background Noise. Sounds from a television, radio or conversations can create extra challenges for people with hearing loss, even with hearing aids. Sit or stand directly across from your loved one in senior care when talking. It will be easier for them to read your body language and gather important nonverbal cues that are often taken for granted.
- Keep the Conversation Positive. Never underestimate the power of a smile. Know any good jokes? Add in laughter whenever possible. Talk about events in the past that were fun. Keep it lighthearted and bring conversation back to the present moment if past memories are bringing up feelings of sadness or loss.
- Listen Mindfully. Stop yourself before interrupting. Allow the pauses of silence. If there is cognitive impairment, you may hear the same story repeatedly. Give the gift of respect and patience to your loved one, even if this is boring. Listen to their details and honor your loved one by asking questions to show you are listening.
- Invite Memories. Help your loved ones reminisce by talking about their past. It can be therapeutic, allowing them to feel appreciated and valued. Remind them of their skills, valuable lessons they taught you and family traditions they created long ago that still remain today.
Communicating with someone in senior care may be challenging. Always speak with kindness and consideration, keeping in mind that your own future is unknown.
Social opportunities are vital to your loved one’s wellbeing but finding time in your busy schedule may be difficult. If you don’t have as much time as you would like to offer your loved one, call CareBuilders to ask about home visits, companionship assistance, and more.